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Boise - November 2009

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Boise — No Consensus for Streetcar

Rail Transit Online, November 2009

Members of the downtown streetcar task force created by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter are apparently being very methodical in their consideration of the project and, after meeting monthly behind closed doors for a year, still have not developed a consensus on the project.

Despite Bieter's strong support for a rail circulator, the influential business and civic leaders and downtown landowners who are members of the task force have indicated they still don't have clear answers to two primary questions: is a streetcar right for Boise and can the city carry out the project?

Member Ed Dahlberg didn't seem convinced when he told the Idaho Statesman, "We ought to be looking at whether this is the right way to spend 65 million bucks. I'm just not convinced yet that this is the right project."

In a statement to the newspaper, Beiter said the scheme "...requires a robust discussion," adding "I've found that the more people learn about the streetcar the more they support it. The work of this task force is vital to the whole thing."

The city has applied for $40 million in federal stimulus funding, which would cover about two-thirds of the capital cost. But there is intense competition for the $1.5 billion available; grants will be announced by the end of January, about the time the task force is expected to present a report to the city council on its conclusions and recommendations.



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